One day after the MLB trade deadline, we come roaring back with a star-studded lineup. Including, a nationally-televised duel certainly worth your time. Check ’em out!
RHP Carlos Carrasco (CLE) versus LHP Chris Sale (BOS) — 7:10 p.m. ET — MLBN
After a couple tough starts, Carrasco is back on the right track, tossing back-to-back starts with just two earned runs in a loss against the Giants and a win against the Angels. Both were no-decisions for Carrasco. But, he pitched brilliantly as his ERA continues to trickle back towards the mid-3.00s. In a year where Corey Kluber missed a month, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin have been up-and-down and Danny Salazar has barely pitched, Carrasco has been the long-shining beacon of hope for a team I think will win the Central running away. Carrasco is third in the AL in WHIP (1.09), sixth in strikeouts (135 in 123.1 innings) and 10th in ERA (3.58).
Sale allowed runs in just one July start. That’s not a misprint. All four earned runs he allowed in the month came on July 6 against the Rays. For the month, Sale posted a wicked 1.04 ERA with 56 strikeouts and just six walks in 34.2 innings. Only 27 opposing batters reached base against him in that five-start stretch. Odds are, he’ll run away with the AL Cy Young award this year. Why? Well, he’s first in the league in wins, ERA, innings, strikeouts and WHIP. What a stud.
RHP Carlos Martinez (STL) versus RHP Jimmy Nelson (MIL) — 7:40 p.m. ET
Martinez is coming off a rough July which saw him allow five earned runs on three occasions over a five-start span. He finished with a 5.90 ERA in the month. And, allowed 36 hits with 11 walks against just 23 strikeouts in 29 innings. That pushed his season ERA up to 3.52. And, comes on the heels of a 2.03 ERA in May and a 2.43 mark in June. Basically, when Martinez misfires, he usually spends an entire month doing so. In April, he had a 4.71 ERA and didn’t see his ERA dip under 3.00 for the season until June 10. He’ll look to get back on track against a Milwaukee team he hasn’t seen since May 2, when he held them to just one unearned run on four hits over 7.1 innings in a 2-1 win.
Nelson is Milwaukee’s breakout star in the rotation, posting a 3.38 ERA while ranking 10th in the NL in strikeouts through July. He was solid over the month of July, posting a 3.23 ERA with 38 strikeouts and just six walks over a five-start span. It’s been quite a jump for Nelson, who posted a 5.34 ERA through 28.2 innings in April. Since then, through 16 starts he’s posted the following numbers: 2.82 ERA, .657 OPS against and 119-21 K/BB ratio over 99 innings with a 13 percent whiff rate. Time will tell if he can keep it up, of course. But so far, he looks extremely legit.
Aces in Isolation
RHP Max Scherzer (WAS) versus Miami LHP Chris O’Grady
The NL Cy Young crown is Scherzer’s to run with now with Clayton Kershaw laid up. And he’ll look to keep rolling in Miami. Scherzer has allowed more than two earned runs just twice in his last 10 starts. Though, both of those starts came over his last four outings. Still, he’s working on a 2.23 ERA, 201 strikeouts in 145.1 innings and a BAA of just .170. He’s first in the NL in innings, strikeouts and WHIP plus second in ERA—to Kershaw (2.04), who may fall off the leaderboard anyway if he doesn’t return early in September.
LHP Jon Lester (CHC) versus Arizona LHP Patrick Corbin
Lester has been hit a bit more this year than usual, but he’s been stellar during his last three starts in wins over Atlanta, St. Louis and the White Sox—allowing just five earned runs over that 22-inning stretch. That’s lowered his ERA back under 4.00 as he’s posted a 20-2 K/BB ratio over that time frame. He’s not in the running for Cy Young honors this year, of course. But he’s still for the most part been sturdy with a 130 strikeouts and just 39 walks in 130 innings. The long ball has bit him however, with Lester allowing 19 so far this season—including two or more in four of his last eight starts.
RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR) versus Chicago RHP Mike Pelfrey
Not surprisingly, Stroman stayed put at the deadline and will look to continue what has been mostly a stellar run, last start notwithstanding. The A’s got to Stroman for three earned runs in 4.2 innings as six walks ran his pitch count up quickly. But that stretch also snapped a five-start span where the 26-year-old righty had not allowed more than two earned runs in any appearance. In July, Stroman posted his best monthly ERA of the year (2.03). Though, he hasn’t posted anything above 3.70 in any month all season. Oddly, however, Stroman had a 25-19 K/BB ratio in July. That won’t fly long-term, of course.
RHP Chris Archer (TBR) versus Houston RHP Mike Fiers
The Rays have lost each of Archer’s last three starts, but the last two particularly have been absolutely dirty. He’s allowed just four earned runs over those 13 innings, carrying a 21-3 K/BB ratio over that time frame as well. That’s sort of been the path for Archer this year. He hasn’t been perfect (3.80 ERA), but all of his secondary numbers tell a different story, including most notably a 177-46 K/BB ratio in 142 innings. Archer is second in the AL in innings and strikeouts, but eighth in walks. He’s not far from being the AL’s answer to Robbie Ray this year.
RHP Aaron Nola (PHI) versus Los Angeles RHP Ricky Nolasco
Nola has been a man ablaze in an otherwise forgettable season for the Phillies, as allowing two or fewer earned runs in seven straight starts to lower his ERA from 4.76 to its present-day mark of 3.17. He’s got 107 strikeouts and just 30 walks in 99.1 innings. And, has held opposing batters to just a .231 BAA. This is a good matchup for Nola, as the Angels offense hasn’t been particularly good. Plus, Nolasco has been giving up runs by the bucket load.